Because “Hard Knocks” can be a bit intrusive and distracting, most teams have stopped volunteering to appear on the show despite the extra publicity. So, the NFL applied a rule several years ago that they could force a team to be displayed on the show. The catch is there are three things that can ensure a team will NOT be forced into it. Those stipulation are:
Teams with a first-year head coach
Teams who have made the playoffs in at least one of the past two years
Teams who have been on “Hard Knocks” in the past 10 years
Only five teams are not on the two above lists: Lions, Jets, Panthers, Falcons and Chargers. However, the Chargers were on “Hard Knocks” (with the Rams) in 2020. The Falcons were on “Hard Knocks” in 2014.
That leaves just three teams eligible
New York Jets
It’s worth noting that any team can volunteer for “Hard Knocks” at any time — the Rams and Chargers did so in 2020. But that doesn’t happen often, which means the Lions have a decent shot of being the focus this year.